BRUSSELS, April 19 British media group Pearson's
Penguin unit has offered to scrap e-book deals with
Apple that imposed price restrictions on Amazon
and other retailers, EU antitrust regulators said on
The concessions, if accepted by the European Commission,
would make Penguin the fifth book publisher to settle with
regulators, ending a 16-month long investigation without any
finding of wrongdoing or fine.
Regulators were concerned such pricing deals could hold back
development of the e-book market, with higher prices for
consumers. Amazon has the biggest share of that market.
Apple and publishers Simon & Schuster, News Corp
unit HarperCollins, Lagardere SCA's Hachette
Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, the owner of
Germany's Macmillan, reached a settlement with the Commission in
Penguin's concessions include ending "most-favoured nation"
contracts for five years. Such clauses bar rival retailers from
selling e-books more cheaply than Apple.
Retailers will also be allowed to set prices or discounts
for a period of two years. The concessions are similar to those
offered by the other publishers last year.
Interested parties have a month to comment on Penguin's
proposals before the Commission makes a final decision.
The Pearson unit is merging with German media group
Bertelsmann's publishing unit Random House.